A mother of a Mississippi student, who was prohibited to wear a mask simply due to its religious connotation, found out that the school lied about the policy to justify the action.
But when Lydia's mother, Jennifer, reviewed the handbook, such rules did not exist, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) revealed. Upon discussing the issue with the school district administrator, she was told that the policy was part of the school's "restart plan." He then sent her a list of rules that contains the new policy.
However, when she checked the document using her knowledge in information technology, Jennifer discovered that the administrator actually added the statement about mask policy just moments before it was emailed to her.
"He had literally modified this document to include the information he needed to make himself right," she said.
In a letter to parents two days after the incident, the district superintendent explained about the new rule.
"Masks cannot display political, religious, sexual or any inappropriate symbols, gestures or statements that may be offensive, disruptive or deemed distractive to the school environment," the letter says.
The family then filed a lawsuit the following month, represented by the ADF.
"Public schools have a duty to respect the free expression of students that the First Amendment guarantees to them... Other students within the school district have freely worn masks with the logos of local sports teams or even the words 'Black Lives Matter.' This student deserves an equal opportunity to peacefully express her beliefs," ADF Legal Counsel Michael Ross said at the time.
"School administrations like [the ones in Lydia's case] are all too common. We're seeing administrators all over the place trying to shut down speech. They have many different reasons for doing it, but we are seeing a lot of Christian and conservative viewpoints being marginalized," Ross told Christianity Daily.
"It made me feel a little sad and confused...I love the words on that mask...I didn't know why it was happening," Lydia said of the incident.
Though the situation was confusing for the grade schooler, it was still used by God for His glory. One of her classmates became interested with her mask and wants to have one too, while her classmate's older sister was moved to read the Bible. Two girls also sent her encouraging notes, saying that they are praying for her.
Jennifer felt proud of her daughter, standing up for her belief and being a witness for Christ.
The ADF is urging the public to support its fight over Lydia's case, arguing that the move against the student was a violation of her freedom of speech and religion.
ADF is non-profit legal organization that protects "religious freedom, free speech, marriage and family, parental rights, and the sanctity of life." To know more about the firm and join the movement to preserve these rights, you may donate by visiting the website.